Last trip to Europe, my bank, Bank of America, had a "partner" bank in France. I was careful to use it to avoid excess fees for getting cash at the ATM. Now I am headed to Italy and BOA has no "partner" bank there. Does anyone know which Italian bank's ATM's are best to use? I will be in Cinque Terre, Tuscany hill towns, Venice and Lake Como (Varenna). Also, does any US bank offer the chip and pin credit card yet? Thanks.!!
Cris, BofA does indeed have a partner bank in Italy, in fact it is owned by the same partner bank in France. I can personally verify that it was in effect this past December! Here is my post in the Graffiti Wall section - How to find a Bank of America ATM in Italy With your internet connection go to BNL.IT. Then click on "BNL PRIORITY". On the next page click on "PRENDI UN APPUNTAMENTO". This will bring you to a series of three drop-down boxes where you enter your location by Regione, Provincia and Comune. Once you enter that info click on the "CERCA" button. There you will see all their branch locations in that locality. Simply click on the "BANCOMAT" tab at the top of the page to see all the ATM locations along with a map! Paul
Weston, MA USA 01/03/2013
Any Italian bank atm will work. No fee from them. But your American bank will likely slap you with a flat fee for each withdrawal + 3% foreign transaction fee. So minimize your withdrawals to few large ones (Italian banks will allow at least 250 euros at the time). Use credit cards as much as you can for purchases, so that you don't have to withdraw too often. Most (if not all) credit cards will charge you a 3% foreign transaction fee, but their exchange rate is better than exchanging dollars in the various exchange bureaus. Also memorize your PIN in numbers since Italian key pads at ATM have no letters. Not too many EMV cards issued by US banks yet. Mostly for business international travelers. I got mine from my Italian Bank. Latest on EMV cards issued by US banks: http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/top-credit-cards/nerdwallets-best-emv-chip-credit-cards/
To add to Roberto's response, get as much money as you can at each transaction to minimize fees. If you are denied, just try a different amount. For example, I tried to get 500 euros at an ATM on my last trip (November 2012). This was well within my daily withdrawal amount for my bank and the transaction was denied. I put in a lower amount and eventually got 300 euros. most of the ATMs that I used limited you to 250 per withdrawal. You can do multiple transactions if you want more money than the 250 euros. My bank charges a flat fee per transaction rather than a percentage basis,so the daily withdrawal amount didn't matter.
So very helpful everyone. Grazie!